Monday, November 06, 2006


I spent several hours today permanently transforming my hair into a knotty, matted symbol of rejection of "the establishment" and traditional values. I must admit, though, that creating this symbol feels a bit hypocritical, as I consider emphasis on symbols to be part of what I'm rejecting. In many aspects of our society, far too much emphasis is placed on symbols, often to the detriment of what they are supposed to symbolize. Update: The dreadlocks fell apart when I tried to wash them, so I'm back to my regular, long hippie hair.

This is especially true for religions. I am frequently disgusted to see borderline idol worship directed at crosses/crucifixes by those who claim the Holy Trinity as their one true god. This type of prayer by proxy, at best, shows an individual lack of understanding by those who engage in them of their own religion's principles. While I have problems with the way Christianity defines its deity as a trinity so that it can technically qualify as monotheistic, I don't buy the Catholic variant -- with all of its saints and symbols and superstitious rituals -- as monotheistic for a second.

This hypocrisy is not unique to religion, though. The recent attempt to pass a constitutional amendment to abridge our freedom with a ban on the burning of the American flag, which proponents of the amendment loved to call a symbol of freedom. This clearly shows the problem with putting too much emphasis on a symbol: When reverence for a symbol is used to harm that which it symbolizes, it's obviously gone too far.

Both of these types of symbols have been abused by the current administration to further its own goals, to the detriment of what they symbolize. Symbols, without knowledge of what they symbolize, are meaningless. The use of a symbol is little more than an invitation for its meaning to be misconstrued, and given the danger of a misconstrued symbol, it's a risk that's not worth taking.

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